June 27, 2016
The Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce (KKCC) honored TMT with its Pualu Award for Community Education at its Installation Banquet and Membership Luncheon on Friday at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. The Pualu Award for Community Education honors individuals or organizations that promote and support education and enrichment programs that develop personal skills and lifelong learning.
Honorees were selected by the KKCC Pualu Awards committee from nominations received by Chamber members and the general public.

TMT's Ashley Tanabe and Virginia Aragon-Barnes with KKCC President Dale Suezaki and Executive Director Kirsten Kahaloa

TMT's premise that education benefits all has been an active initiative on Hawaii Island since 2008 in promoting and supporting educational and enrichment programs that develop personal skills and lifelong learning.
"We conducted listening sessions around Hawaii Island and one of the suggestions we heard consistently from the community was to focus TMT's community benefit package on education initiatives for the youth of Hawaii Island. Clearly this message resonated with TMT leadership and we moved forward to create a new paradigm with educational support for both students and teachers on Hawaii Island," said TMT Hawaii Community Affairs Manager Sandra Dawson.

Governor David Ige
Governor Ige stopped by TMT booth at KKCC Business Expo

TMT convened a group of Hawaii Island community volunteers to outline the mission, vision, purpose and implementation strategy of an education fund that would benefit Hawaii Island students. The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund was launched in 2014 to better prepare Hawaii Island students to master STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and to become the future workforce for the higher paying science and technology jobs in Hawaii's 21 st century economy.
TMT selected two Hawaii foundations-Hawaii Community Foundation and Pauahi Foundation to administer THINK Fund distribution in scholarship and grant making platforms. TMT's annual $1 million contribution allocates $750,000 to the THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation and $250,000 to the THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation. To date, TMT has contributed $2 million to the THINK Fund initiative.

Recipients of THINK Fund's STEM Learning Grants include Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island, Hawaii Space Grant Consortium, Kanu o ka Aina Learning Ohana, Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School, Ke Kula o Nawahiokalani opuu, Keauhaha One Youth Development, Honaunau Elementary School, Paa Pono Milolii and the Waimea Middle Public Conversion School for its Full STEM Ahead project.
Apart from the THINK Fund, other educational initiatives supported by TMT include Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Science Day, GEMS (Girls Exploring Math & Science), After School Science Program: Science Rocks!, Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, The Hawaii Project for Robotics Education, BrushBot Robotics Workshops for Teachers, Journey Through the Universe-Family Science Day and Astronomy Educators in the Classroom, Excellence in Teaching Astronomy, , Hawaii District Science & Engineering Fair, Pacific Astronomy and Engineering Education Summit, and robotics programs in Hamakua, Hilo, Honokaa, Holualoa, Keaau, Kohala, Kona, Paauilo and Waikoloa.
TMT has also provided major funding to the Akamai Internship Program that provides college students with summer projects at observatories and companies in Hawaii.
"It's been said many times before that education is the great equalizer in our society. TMT's commitment to Hawaii Island STEM education initiatives is already showing profound and lifelong effects on young people throughout Hawaii Island. Witness the growth of robotics programs and the large number of girls participating in these programs. TMT's commitment to education is helping students to achieve their goals and dreams," said Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kirstin Kahaloa.

About TMT:
The Thirty Meter Telescope Project has been developed as collaboration among Caltech, UC, the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), and the national institutes of Japan, China, and India with the goal to design, develop, construct, and operate a thirty-meter class telescope and observatory on Mauna Kea in cooperation with the University of Hawaii (TMT Project). The TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO), a non-profit organization, was established in May 2014 to carry out the construction and operation phases of the TMT Project. The Members of TIO are Caltech, UC, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Department of Science and Technology of India, and the National Research Council (Canada); the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a TIO Associate. The Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation has provided major funding.
For more information about the TMT project, visit tmt.org , www.facebook.com/TMTHawaii or follow @TMTHawaii.


Sandra Dawson

TMT Manager, Hawaii Community Affairs